It was the first time that Varyn had been to the fabled Sith world of Korriban, and it was absolutely stifling in every way. The heat of the planet, the darkness of the planet, and the malice of those who lived here. All of it was more unsettling to the young Knight than he wanted to admit.
Dressed in his Sith robes and with his saber hanging from his belt, he moved through the Korriban temple, glad at least to be out of the heat. No matter how long he stayed here, every time he received any kind of orders or summons it made him nervous. Was it someone wanting to check out his story? Question something he did? Subject him to another test? But he had to admit, the longer he was here, the less nervous he got. No one seemed to be onto him, so he went about his business as a Sith.
Amidst it all, he managed to stop and take a look around. This was a world and place he never could have walked on as a "Jedi" but he had to admit there was an intimidating beauty to this place. The way the stone was etched with ancient runes and the statues of long-dead Sith Lords were erected in the main halls. It was an amazing sight to be sure. He couldn't help but run his fingers along the walls as he walked, feeling the rough stone under his finger tips.
Vahliri couldn’t help the way her eyes continuously lingered upon the runic etchings on the walls, fingers lightly tracing the surface as she walked. The half-Anfynn had arrived at the Academy only several hours prior - pouncing at the opportunity to study at the prestigious academy. It was a planet that was almost overwhelming and exhilarating to behold - from the history that was steeped into its ever crevice, to the oppressive heat that one could never really get used to.
Vahliri strolled through the spacious hallways of the academy, not particularly watching where she was going. The half-Anfynn was dressed a bit more professional for her assignment out of the planet - sporting a pair of red-and-black Sith robes, the curved hilt of her lightsaber clipped to her belt. The half-Anfynn’s black hair was pulled back out of her face into an intricate braid, while the air around her was sweetly scented with her floral perfume.
After a few additional moments of walking, Vahliri finally looked back ahead - tearing her eyes away from the stone-carved visages on the walls. She adjusted the satchel on her shoulder, allowing her honeyed gaze to wander for a moment before finally settling upon a familiar face.
“Oh,” Vahliri called out from further down the hall, flashing the Acolyte a light smile. “Hey Varyn!” The half-Anfynn pushed off from where she was standing, gradually starting to make her way towards him. While the pair didn’t really know each other outside of a single interaction, he was someone she recognized - which was more than could be said about basically everyone else she’d seen today.
Varyn's eyes snapped over to the person calling out his name. There was definitely a look of recognition on his face and he smiled slightly, but internally he was desperately trying to remember her name. He remembered where they had met all too well and the awkward exchange between she and Aadya.
Hey! Good to see you, he said, taking several steps toward her so they were in a more reasonable talking distance.
What're you doing out here? You're not a Korribaner, are you? he asked. If he recalled she was not a student at this academy, but then neither was he. Little did he know that they had both been summoned by the same academy overseer. At the same time, no less.
I got a summons, but don't know what it's about, he said with a shrug, trying to play off the fact that he was, in fact, more nervous than that.
Verse walked down the halls of the Korriban temple. Her boots clicked on the stone floor, her black and red Sith robes billowing out behind her. Her silvery-white hair was pinned back into a bun, making the blue-gray markings on her cheeks and her pointed ears more evident. Her gloved hands were clenched into fists as she stormed down the hall. Younger Acolytes jumped out of her way. Her dark gray lips were pressed together, and she walked with a fierce purpose. She rounded a corner and slowed down to a more moderate pace when she saw two Acolytes talking.
Vahliri offered Varyn a sideways smile, returning a small nod as he greeted her. “Good to see you too,” She said kindly. While he was a familiar face, the half-Anfynn really didn’t know the fellow Acolyte very well - especially considering that their sole interaction was largely overshadowed by the daggers being thrown between herself and Aadya. Still, perhaps today would be an opportunity to change that fact.
The half-Anfynn shook her head. “Nope - I’m Dromund Kaas through and through.” While she occasionally took externship assignments out of other academies, Dromund Kaas was where she officially a student. She blinked a few times when Varyn mentioned getting a summons. “Huh. Me too, actually.”
She glanced down at the paper in her hands. “Something from Lord Ham Ham–Er. Lord Lordham.” The half-Anfynn corrected herself in the name, blinking a few times. A bit too much time spent around Cairo had her almost instinctively using that nickname. “Didn’t say what this was about though." She wiggled her hands a bit. "'Come to Korriban at this time. Do not be late'.” She said her awful impression of Lord Lordham. "Real ominous shit."
“Who’d you get your summons from?”
Vahliri glanced back down the hall while Varyn gave his answer. Her honeyed eyes were immediately drawn to the girl lingering down the hall - clearly noting the shock of stark white hair she sported. Offering a small smile from a distance, Vahliri waved her hand in a friendly manner before glancing back to Varyn.
Verse picked up her pace and walked up to the pair. They must be new if they were talking in a friendly manner, waving around and giving smiles. "Don't you have somewhere to be," she said, her voice like ice. In her experience, people were never friendly unless they wanted something. She had learned that lesson the hard way.
Same! he exclaimed, hoping it was a good thing that they'd both been summoned here. It also could be a terribly horrible thing if Aadya's evaluation of Vahliri was anything to go by.
I don't know, it just showed up in my mailbox, he said with a shrug. He was about to comment further when someone he didn't know barged up and started yelling at him for no reason.
Not yet, thanks for asking, he said to the woman, though it was probably relatively clear that the latter part was sarcasm. He probably shouldn't have been mouthing off, but here he was. He'd told Aadya he was a part of the Sith because he didn't like bullies, and this one had that written all over her.
He took a step back to move slightly out of her way, hoping it might trigger her to walk past and leave him alone, but he wasn't holding his breath.
Appointment's in a little bit, he said, turning back to Vahliri. Guess that means we have time to kill, he said, as much for the benefit of the Arkanian as Vahl.
"Time is of the essence," Verse said, her voice like cold steel. "You would do well not to waste it. Who is your appointment with?"
Verse was trivially annoyed with the acolytes- they were young, foolish, and inexperienced to the reality of the galaxy. She let her annoyance play over her features, while inwardly she wanted to be in on the secret. She settled for a cold, arrogant glare as she waited for the two acolytes' response.
Sola Zappal landed the ship she had stolen roughly on the ground. She jumped out, red dust puffing up in a cloud around her. She grumbled to herself about how miserable this planet was- no better than Tatooine. But if she wanted a teacher, she would have to sacrifice something to gain something. It looked like she would be sacrificing her comfort.
Sola walked with purpose towards the Sith temple. Her father's light saber- no, hers, she told herself- hung on her hip, the brown hilt thumping against her thigh serving as a constant reminder. A reminder of who she was and what she had done.
She walked in the entrance of the temple, her boots echoing on the stone floor. There were acolytes talking in small groups but there was one group she noticed at the end of the hall. There was a girl who looked to be part-Anfynn, a thin boy with dark hair, and a taller woman with silvery white hair and matching skin. The woman with silver hair looked to be reprimanding the other two for something.
She didn't know if she was even allowed to be here, or if she had to have some kind of permission. She figured if something came up, she would handle it just fine. Meanwhile, she walked up to the group she had noticed. "Who is in charge here?" she asked, directing her attention to the woman with silver hair. Looking at her uniform, she seemed to have the highest rank. She was a Sith champion, like Sola's father.
Verse turned to the young girl that had spoken. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the scars on her face- reddish pink lines against pale skin. The girl peaked an interest in Verse, but she didn't let it show.
In a quick second, Verse had looked the girl up and down, making inferences. She looked about fourteen or fifteen, and there was a glint in her eye that made Verse take a mental step back. "Who are you? I haven't seen you around before," Verse said finally. A question for a question.
"Sola Zappal," Sola said. She wondered if this champion woman would have known her father. "I am looking for a master," she continued, being honest. She needed to continue her training. "I assume I came to the right place,"
Verse knew this girl wasn't stupid. It would take a while for the people in charge to come to Korriban but Acolytes journeyed here all the time, waiting to be trained. "Yes, you have," Verse said, her voice emotionless. "But there are not many Sith who would accept an apprentice now," Verse said. She wondered if she would be punished for taking the girl on as her own apprentice. There was something about the glint in her eye.
Sola was silent for a moment as she pondered the woman in front of her. She was for sure a million times calmer than her father, who seemed to have one emotion and only one- anger. The two girls stared each other down while the other two Sith watched awkwardly. Eventually Sola spoke. "Where, then, should I go to find someone to train me," she said. She noticed the woman was beating around the bush; not telling her something. The woman looked reserved and also like she had not spoken this many words to anyone the entire day, or even perhaps the whole week. Sola found this slightly funny and could not help it when the corners of her mouth twitched upwards.
The girl was smart. "Come with me," she said, keeping her voice cold and indifferent. She gave Varyn and Vahliri a look before leading Sola away. "I will train you," she said, deciding to get to the point. She didn't think she would get in trouble for this- she was only increasing the numbers of the Sith. And again, back to that glint in the girl's eyes- she looked like she had seen more than any other girl her age.
Sola raised an eyebrow as she followed the woman down the hall to a more secluded area. "You will train me? I don't even know your name," she said. Despite being only fourteen, Sola felt much older and was much cockier than other girls her age. She wanted a master but this woman had stepped up so quickly she didn't know what to think.
Verse turned a stare on Sola that could've frozen the insides of even a Jedi Knight. "You will refer to me as Master Tillo," she said, her voice like daggers of ice. "You have ten minutes to get settled and find an empty room in the temple or somewhere outside to sleep. Report outside the temple in ten minutes if you wish to begin your training,"
Some part of Verse knew she may have been too harsh but that part of her was silenced when Sola steeled herself, straightening up in attention.
Sola straightened up. This was what she was used to- intense, no-nonsense training. "Yes, Master Tillo," she replied. She walked down the hall to the way she had come in the temple. She got back in her ship and flew a short distance before finding a massive red rock outcropping near the Sith temple. She unloaded her little materials into the relieving shade of the cave.
Before she went back to her new master, she unhooked her light saber from her belt, holding the cold metal hilt in her hands. It seemed to be at odds with itself, reflecting how she felt internally. The light saber she had taken from her father's dead body after she had killed him, but she had added the bottom hilt piece that had been on her mother's light saber. She turned it on and the crimson blade lit up her surroundings, emitting a low humming sound. She swung it a couple times against an invisible opponent before turning it off and hooking it back onto her belt.
She walked back up to the temple to see Master Tillo waiting by the entrance, her arms crossed. Sola wondered how long it had taken for her to appear emotionless and cold, her emotions so well hidden she might not have felt anything at all. Sola was the complete opposite- she let her emotions play out like a holomovie, especially her anger, which she had a lot of. Right now, however, she could find nothing to be angry at. It wouldn't take long, though.
"I'm ready to learn, Master," she said, giving the woman the respect she deserved, since she was her master of a higher rank.
Verse kept her face expressionless, letting arrogant doubt creep up. "We'll see about that," she said. Suddenly, meaning to catch the girl off guard, she thrust an arm out, knocking her over with the Force. She pulled out both her sabers, turned them on, and crossed them above the girls neck as she lay on the ground. One move and she would lose her head. All this had happened in a couple of seconds. She paused a couple more seconds to see what the girl would do.
Sola saw something flicker across her master's features before she spoke. She blinked and suddenly she was on the ground, two sabers at her throat. Counter moves flooded her mind- her father had pulled this trick once or twice or a hundred times.
She used Verse's position over her to her advantage, kicking her legs out from under her and rolling to the side before the lightsabers could burn her flesh. She turned her own lightsaber on as she leapt to her feet, swinging it out in Verse's direction.
Verse halted Sola's light saber with the Force, and it shook, inches from her breast plate. Verse took a step back and shoved forward with the Force, releasing her hold on Sola's saber. Sola stumbled backwards due to Verse's force pull and Verse turned off her light sabers. "You could have gotten a hit at me. Your anger is blinding you- use it to make yourself more powerful but don't let it blind you to the actions of your opponents," she said. Verse's own emotions she braided into an intricate knot and tucked in the corner of her gut, ready to pull out and re-braid as necessary.